Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 22, Number 1, Spring 2010 Page: 17
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Henry "Dad" Garrett
en companies were looking for, Garrett's knack
for science Nwas unfortunately not paired with
the ability to recognize which opportunities
offered the best long-term prospects. By the
time he reached the age of forty, a milestone that
coincided with the dawn of the twentieth cen-
tury, he had worked for several different busi-
nesses, some of which he left voluntarily, others
because they went out of business, or in at least
one instance, because he was fired. Some of the
most noteworthy firms for which he \worked
during this period of his life were the
Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, the Pan
Electric Telephone Company, the Queen City
Electric Company, and the Dallas Consolidated
Traction Railvay Company. The State Fair and
the City of Dallas also briefly employed him.
None of the handful of partnerships he formed
in between jobs, enterprises that promised much
but delivered little, lasted very long either.
Despite the ups and downs of the first twen-
tv years of his working life, Garrett did have one
good thing to show for it, a well-deserved repu-
tation as an "inventive genius,'' which he had
earned by installing the first State Fair's electric
lights, superintending the city's first electric fire
alarm system, solving a mysterious "electrolysis
situation" that threatened to corrode the city's
water pipes, and experimenting with ways to
improve the existing technology of whichever
type of business he happened to be working for
at the time. While employed by Southwestern
Bell, for example, he teamed up with two other
talented young men, John M. Oram and Henry
M. Sutton, to invent an improved telephone call
box, which was patented in 1884.- Later, while
working for Dallas's Consolidated Streetcar
Company, Garrett received a patent for an inven-
tion that was entirely his own-a "Timing
Apparatus for the Trolley Railway Systems."
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Dallas Historical Society. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 22, Number 1, Spring 2010, periodical, 2010; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146051/m1/19/: accessed March 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.